Thursday, January 27, 2011

hearing myself

I confess...I consider self-awareness to be one of my strong points.  I know who I am and I think I've been pretty self-cognizant from a younger age than most.  I know that there are parts of me that I can change, including things I SHOULD change.  I also know that there are parts of me that are unlikely to change.  Some are good, some not so good, but they are me.  I believe that people are always works in progress so my definition of me is always evolving.  "Me" isn't the sort of thing that one can really put in words, which is hard for me to admit since I'm word-obsessed.  But that doesn't make it any less real, either the knowledge or the underlying truth itself.

One thing I know is that I have solid instincts.  I tend to reach important decisions fairly quickly and that the instincts tend to be right.  I also know that, despite this recognition, I am a master of self-doubt and I am not at peace with my instinctual choices until I've let my rational side examine them and turn them about.  I knew I was going to Haverford the moment I walked on campus...I cite the barefoot tour guide as the clincher...but I still looked at and applied to many schools.  But I belonged at Haverford. It wasn't a perfect place and I know it would be the wrong school for many people.  But it was what I needed and I gained so much from my years there.  I knew I wanted Betty (my Acura Integra) the moment I drove her but I still went and tested other cars.  I went back to the dealer several times, walked away, and kept going back until I let the decision become real.  I have never regretted the choice...even though the model wasn't on my researched list (that was actually more my mom's doing).  I'd looked at dozens of wrong houses, enough to question my list of wants and needs and wonder if I was crazy.  I put an offer on the right one within five minutes of walking in the door.  It was perfect and I still miss it over 4 years later.  While the marriage failed, I had the perfect dress.  I knew it when I put it on.  But it was only the second one I tried.  So I went to three more stores.  I tried on more white dresses.  And then I called and ordered the one I knew was mine.

And then there are the decisions that I didn't make quickly.  I chose UVA quickly, but the idea of going to law school was harder and I never fully committed.  In retrospect, I think I went just because I felt I should.  It is tricky to say I regret it since I don't know where life would have gone otherwise, but, if I'm being honest, it was the wrong move.  I enjoyed the mental challenge but didn't like the career and I'm still exploring the right way to use the background to find my place.  That decision has been on my mind lately since I remain on the job hunt, but it isn't the one that is motivating this post.

I always wanted to fall in love.  I always wanted to get married.  I never dated took a lot out of me and I knew I couldn't fully participate in a relationship until it was over.  As soon as it was, I found a boy.  He met all my preconcieved ideas of "right"...highly educated, in the education field (not sure why but that's what I always saw in my mind), a liberal.  And I did love him...I'll never deny that.  He was, and is, a good person.  But, in hindsight, it never felt like the college, the car, the house, the dress.  I never felt that clear.  I never just knew.  I had to convince myself that it was what I wanted.  Rational me had to convince instinct me, rather than the reverse.  And the reverse had served me well. 

I had to work at being in love.  And I've come to realize that isn't right.  Relationships are work.  Liking someone full-time, a different thing than loving and one very grounded in day-to-day reality, is work.  But loving someone should not be.  I don't at all mean to say that it wasn't a true connection.  It was.  It was special and there were deep and true feelings.  But, I was leading with my mind and not my heart.

So, rational me is not going to say too much in too much detail because it isn't appropriate for several reasons.  But I will say that I've spent the past month re-learning myself, my instincts and my heart.  I never understood the "I knew" concept when it came to the heart and to falling in love.  Which is a bit silly, since "I knew" has served me well in other arenas.  I'm keeping rational me in the picture because she has a purpose.  And I recognize that what I know right now may change...I'm not taking for granted that things will always be, or feel, the same.  Rational me is being sure to take time to let things settle and play out. 

But for now, I am happily listening to my instincts and I am enjoying every moment.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

another endo with a hidden shadow

I body seems not to have accepted the New Year's Resolution that I decided it would be making for 2011.  I've actually been giving it a few bonus rest days in a row.  It has been years since I took more than a day off in a row unless I've had a fever and I think my legs really needed it.  So, I'm being nice to my body.  That wasn't a resolution but it IS a good thing to show my body respect not only by exercising but ALSO by resting (in part for the back...which is still a problem but not the point today).  But it isn't returning the favor.  The endo pain is fierce today.  It hasn't been too bad for the past two weeks, but it is roaring today.

I still maintain that if this was an equal opportunity health issue, one that hit men too, they'd have made greater strides with it.  It impacts so many women.  Many in silence.  There are women like me whose lives are in the shadow of pain that can return at any moment and steals so much life, vitality, and joy.  There are other women who don't know it's there till they have trouble with fertility (not likely to be an issue for me).  If you start talking about it, you realize how widespread it is. 

I talk about it because others don't.  Because it took so long to admit there was something wrong.  Because I didn't even really know that it wasn't normal.  It took a time in which I was curled up daily and even passed out at work.  They had a guess fairly early on when I spoke up but it did take time to get the official diagnosis because they try other things first since it is a surgical diagnosis.  They try to manage it for me.  And they do.  I'm not where I was when I was isn't actively awful every day...but I still live with it in hiding.  The doctor I appreciated the most is the one who said he might never make me pain-free.  It isn't a verdict that I like, but I appreciate the honesty.

There ARE people working on it.  I hope there will be more.  So many women (and the men and women in their lives) are impacted by it and waiting for help.  We need a ribbon or a walk or something.  I know it isn't fatal.  I know there are lots of other conditions out there that merit attention.  I know it could be worse.  I guess I just need to think they can find a fix someday.  I need to admit it isn't there that I shape my life with the knowledge that it is with me...but I need the hope that someday it will be gone.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tourquai: A Novel by Tim Davys

I confess...I didn't know what to expect when I opened Tourquai: A Novel by Tim Davys.  I knew it was a detective-type mystery and that it was the author's third in a series of four books.  The books stand-alone but are in the same imaginary fictional region (an area w/ four districts...each is the title of a novel).  What I didn't realize was that the characters are all stuffed animals.  Honestly, I'm not certain why the author made that decision.  It actually isn't as distracting as one might expect and they act pretty much like normal characters.  There are some wrinkles though...time is in terms of weather, drying out after rain is key, and having your head cut off may not be fatal if they can find it and stitch it back on. 

Once again, I'm going with 3.5 stars.  To be clear, this is a generally positive rank for me.  I'm a tough grader and 4 stars likely means I plan to re-read it and 5 is a rave.  I enjoyed the story and the way Davys followed several different characters as he explored the mystery at the heart of the plot.  There's a bit of aside towards the end about fate versus free will....that felt a bit "tacked on" but was an interesting line to ponder.  I did like some of the little quirks about the fictional world that Davys crafts. 

FYI:  This is a translation and Davys is a pen name.  This is another book where an advance review copy was provided to me by the folks at Harper.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

rambling rambler

I confess...I kind of want to make the first bullet point into its own full post but my attention span is short today.  So, some of the current thoughts rambling through my head:
  • Two other blogs that I follow have had women discussing physical issues lately.  One blogger does often but the current post are pretty personal matters and the other blogger noted she usually doesn't share health stuff.  I don't know if people enjoy reading the various health posts (and I'm including the food issues in that category), but I think it is really important to be open about this stuff.  I appreciate reading honest accounts of other people's fights and get strength from them.  I hope that even one person reads my posts and feels less alone.  I hate seeing people I care for struggle, but it really does help to know people can understand.  A woman recently remarked on my description of "going away" when the pain got really bad...I honestly hadn't been sure if that was just my oddity and it helped to hear from someone else.  I hope I provide that.  Plus, sometimes I just need to vent :P
  • I decided that my body was going to resolve to be nicer to me in 2011.  It hasn't gotten the message yet.
  • Speaker Boehner is not a pretty crier.  I think it is good when men can cry (even men I wouldn't have voted for), but he just doesn't do it well.  And a woman who cried as much as he does would NEVER be tolerated.  I'd have found it moving that he was a bit choked up when he was sworn in (again, even though I'd have preferred different results) if I didn't think he might actually cry over spilled milk.
  • A friend recently made a FB post about her daughter mis-hearing a song lyric, one that she was glad the girl misheard since it wasn't too child-friendly. It made me recall the days in Charlottesville when they had three different versions of "Wasn't Me" in rotation. One had the regular, admittedly PG-13 lyrics, "Picture us we were both buck naked, banging on the bathroom floor." The other was a bit toned down: "love on the bathroom floor."  The third won the prize: "Picture us we were both in aprons, cleaning up the bathroom floor." 
  • I am holding a review of The Oracle of Stamboul in my queue because I promised to release in on a specific date.  I was nervous when I agreed to be part of a rolling blog review.  I always post honest reviews (and Harper has NEVER asked me to do otherwise), but this felt a bit more pressure.  Luckily, I absolutely loved it.  I expect it will be on the Best of 2011 list and know it will be well-worn.
  • I hate when online job applications ask you to fill in all your information including details on the jobs and your education and THEN have you attach your resume.  I do understand that reviewing resumes is a lot of work, but I don't really see how making me type it all multiple times helps.
  • My mom and step-dad are travelling so it is only me in the house. Today is trash day and it amused me that there's much less regular trash but not a big change in the recyclable bin. Yeah, I'm a diet soda addict.
  • Emotionally, the divorce thing is in the past and I'm beyond it.  The paperwork is another story.  I do understand the reasons why it is more complicated than getting married but it still baffles me how easy it is to get married.  I do still think I did it "right"...we'd been together for nearly four years...but, in most states, you could marry someone you met minutes before.  Well, so long as you're straight...b/c clearly allowing Britney Spears to marry that Jason guy was affirming marriage but allowing a gay couple who've been together for years is not (insert sarcasm smiley here).
  • Last night, I was asked if I thought it was true that nice guys finish last.  My answer wasn't something I'd really thought about before, but I liked it and think it is a good one.  I don't think nice guys finish last, I think they just don't brag about their victories.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

wherein i make some rules for the grocery store

I confess...I'm not a New Year's Resolution kinda girl.  I do believe in making improvements, but I think they come when they are ready, not because the calendar so decrees.  I am, however, in a decree-making mood and thus you are getting some of the Rambling Mind's Rules.  Today's feature, the grocery store...
  • Yield when turning.  I've thought at times that traffic lights might help in busy times but I doubt that'll happen.  So let's go with general road rules...and add in a STOP sign at the end of an aisle.  Merge nicely. Stay to the right (obviously, you can grab an item on the left, but let's generally be American drivers).
  • I know you just gotta talk about the kids' soccer game with the other shopper folks.  Whatever.  Just don't block traffic folks.  And don't get so involved in your chat that you don't see me trying to get to the Fruit Loops behind you.  And don't laugh at me for buying Fruit Loops.
  • Likewise, feel free to label read and such but pull over if it takes more than a second.  This does not mean take half the aisle with your cart and stand blocking the other half while you decide on a spaghetti sauce.
  • If you see a shortish person (especially a 5'4" gal with long dark hair, brown eyes, tan skin), looking longingly at the top shelf and you happen to be a person of height, please offer aid. I feel silly asking. I've been known to climb (including in the freezer) but I don't think that's considered classy. Or hygienic.
  • Ten items is ten items.  You are not special and allowed to have fifteen.  I, on the other hand, reserve the right to be special if I'm in a rush. 
  • Put your food on the grocery conveyor belt in an organized fashion.  I'm sitting here with a heavy basket and you're using the whole darn thing to put one can of creamed corn at a time.
  • Don't judge.  I eat well all week.  So I deserve my Ben & Jerry's. And Hershey's.  And I know that Shape magazine looks weird with them but I'm a multi-faceted lady.
  • Carts go in their home.  Not against my car.  Not taking up parking spaces.  Not just rolling across the lot like a charging bull seeking out a fender or lost toddler. 
As always, I reserve the right to add rules without notice.  And without posting them.  And to make special rules just for me.